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To be honest, I never envisioned myself working in urology, but my position kind of fell in my lap! My first job out of PA school was in the hospital working with urologic patients after surgery, so I got to know our urologists very well. When a job working for the urology group in the outpatient setting opened up, I happily accepted the job and I’m so glad I did!
A Physician Associate (formerly known as a Physician Assistant) is responsible for diagnosing and treating patients in collaboration with our supervising physician. I work alongside our urologists but see my own patients independently in clinic.
I can diagnose conditions, order testing, prescribe medication, and – most important to me – educate patients on their conditions and discuss treatment and prevention strategies.
As a urology PA specializing in Women’s Health, I am excited about a lot of new advancements. I see a lot of patients with Overactive Bladder and incontinence, and it is very rewarding to find treatment options, whether it be with medication, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, or procedural intervention that can dramatically improve my patients’ quality of life.
When seeing patients with recurrent UTIs, I manage patients with a multi-modal approach. When a patient first comes to see me, I typically order imaging (ultrasound of the kidney and bladder) and set them up for a cystoscopy (an in-office procedure to look inside the bladder) to evaluate for any structural causes of their UTIs.
I also discuss a variety of techniques to prevent their UTIs. In post-menopausal women without contraindications, I recommend using a vaginal estrogen cream two nights per week to replenish their vaginal flora.
My biggest advice to women dealing with any urinary tract health issues is that there is hope! While things like UTIs and incontinence are common, they are not inevitable and there are a lot of things we can do to treat their conditions. I do everything I can to make the visit a comfortable environment and I like to reassure patients that they do not need to be embarrassed and they are not alone.
I love being a woman in this field! Very commonly I see patients who are so thankful that they can see a woman as it can ease their discomfort level. While I work with many excellent male colleagues, a lot of women are more comfortable seeing a female provider, so I am very happy to be able to provide that extra level of comfort.
As I mentioned, I see a lot of patients with overactive bladder, so I have a big interest in helping these patients out. In our practice, we are fortunate to have an “Overactive Bladder Navigator”, an LPN who can help facilitate patient’s getting the help they want and need rather than waiting for their next appointments.
I have three children at home who are ages 6, 4, and 2, so I spend most of my free time with them. I also love to read in my downtime, but if my husband and I are lucky enough to get a date night, we love doing escape rooms and playing board games with our friends.
This article is not intended to replace medical advice given to you by your doctor.
Kristen Schreiber, MMS, PA-C is a Physician Associate at Urology of St. Louis in Missouri. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Lindenwood University and completed PA school at St. Louis University. She specializes in Women’s Health and has a particular interest in Overactive Bladder and Recurrent UTIs.